The textile industry has a heavy environmental impact. In particular, it produces a large quantity of waste, of which only around 1% is recycled back into new textiles. Even though recycling textiles is not simple, companies have a great opportunity in changing their approach to production.
Let's find out more.
Waste production in the textile industry
First of all, we need to understand why waste is a serious problem in the textile industry.
As the European Parliament explains in an infographic about the impact of textile production and waste on the environment, "waste" can mean different things:
- Water consumption
Textile production needs a lot of water. The textile and clothing industry used 79 billion cubic meters of water back in 2015, while the production of a single cotton t-shirt needs 2,700 liters of fresh water.
- Microfibers and microplastics
Textile production and washing of synthetic garments releases 0.5 million tons of microfibers into the seas every year. Furthermore, washing synthetic clothing accounts for 35% of the release of primary microplastics into the environment.